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The Glendale Raptors avenged a 39-38 loss in the 2014 Pacific Rugby Premiership Final, with a 25-11 victory in the 2015 match. The Raptors scored three timely tries and stonewalled a potent SFGG attack to win their first PRP Championship.
Glendale dominated the early minutes of the first half. The Raptors swung the ball right through the backs and then worked it through the hands out wide left using their forward pack. The referee awarded a penalty to the home side for side entry at a ruck five meters out down the left sideline.
The Raptors elected to go for touch and drove the lineout. Glendale peeled off the maul but was held up at the goal line. The home side recycled the ball and after a number of phases on the goal line, fullback Max Statler slipped a tackler and went up 7-0 five minutes into the match.
SFGG struggled to get anything going in the first 10 minutes as it failed to execute on a lineout in Glendale territory, and a miscue deep in its own territory kept Glendale on the front foot. The Raptors looked to double their lead but a knock on near the goal line stymied the home sides attack.
Tempers were flaring early in this game as the referee went to the Television Match Official after the knock on to take a look at some extra curricular activities occurring on the pitch. The referee warned both captains and the game continued without further discipline.
Glendale continued its pressure deep in Gates territory, earning another penalty for diving over down the right sideline. Armandt Peens, however, hooked the kick right and the score remained 7-0 through a quarter of the match.
SFGG finally got on the front foot after a great territorial kick by Tai Enosa. The visitors got their forward pack rumbling towards the Glendale goal line and earned a penalty for not rolling away to cut the lead to 7-3 at the 25-minute mark.
The momentum continued to turn in favor of Gate after the visitors cleared a kick from their own line. Glendale knocked the ball on while attempting a counter attack. SFGG took the scrum ball wide but after that initial push pounded the fringes with its big forwards. Eventually, the visitors earned a penalty for a failure to release and added a second penalty to make the game 7-6.
Glendale reestablished control of the game after earning a penalty at the scrum. The home side kicked for territory but eventually was run into touch. The Raptors, however, stole the lineout deep in SFGG territory. They swung it wide and Preston Bryant slipped a tackle from Bubba Jones and dove over in the corner for a 12-6 lead.
SFGG regained momentum and field position with a solid kick. An uncharacteristic kick from Preston Bryant left Glendale in a dangerous position but a penalty for holding onto the ball in the tackle allowed Glendale to escape momentarily. The raptors immediately gave away possession on the subsequent sequence with a penalty. Volney Rouse missed right with the penalty attempt and the game went into the break 12-6 in favor of Glendale.
Glendale coughed up the ball a few phases into the second half and Volney Rouse darted through the Glendale defense and offloaded to Tim Buchanan. After a ruck five meters out, Samisoni Pone picked and dove over for a score less than a minute into the second stanza. Rouse, however, missed the point blank conversion and SFGG still trailed 12-11.
Sloppy play continued at the restart, this time from the visitors. SFGG knocked the kickoff on and committed a penalty after the scrum. Peens missed the kick right, however, and Glendale was unable to add to the lead. Another failed kick to touch from Enosa and a penalty at the breakdown left Peens with another opportunity. The center nailed the 40-meter kick to extend the lead to 15-11.
The teams traded penalties and field position until SFGG was called for accidental offsides at midfield. Peens attempted the ambitious kick and hooked it left.
The penalties continued after the assistant referee pinged Mose Timoteo for stepping on an SFGG player at the ruck. SFGG used this advantage to pound away at the Glendale defense phase after phase. The Raptors remained strong on defense, valiantly keeping SFGG out. Finally, an overthrown pass and a penalty allowed Glendale to escape unscathed.
The visitors earned another penalty deep in Glendale territory, but rather than go for points elected for a line out. SFGG, who struggled with the line out all afternoon, lost possession. After conceding another penalty, Glendale found its way back into enemy territory. The Raptors went wide and sprung Dustin Croy down the right sideline. The winger found Statler streaking inside to extend the lead to 20-11.
Substitute Hanco Germishuys made an immediate impact entering the game running over an SFGG player only to be tackled about five meters out. Glendale swung the ball left and earned a well-worked team try in the corner from Preston Bryant. With 12 minutes to play Glendale led 25-11.
Golden Gate refused to give up, continuing to probe the enemy deep in Glendale territory. The visitors earned several penalties but were unable to crack the Raptors defense for several minutes. A great tackle from Croy forced a turnover and allowed Glendale to clear the pressure.
With five minutes to play, Chad London was sent to the sin bin for failing to release the tackled player. The final minutes of play were extremely frantic but Glendale looked the more dangerous team, despite being down a player. A knock on from SFGG ended the game with Glendale earning the 25-11 victory.